Our country and our judicial system were founded upon the crucial notion that the rights of the individual must always be protected against the monstrous powers of the State. This cannot be forgotten as we move towards substantive criminal justice reform. Our starting point must always be the individual, not the State.
When someone is wrongfully convicted it’s (by nature of the beast) a situation where the State’s authority grossly and obtusely (if utterly ignorantly) tramples the individual. This cannot be allowed to happen. We must regain those foundational principles upon which this country was made once great.
Simple principles, like “Innocent until proven guilty,” must be re-established, upheld, protected, and most of all PRACTICED in courtrooms around this country. This reform alone would drastically enhance the rights of the individual against the over-grown powers of the State.
Those of us dedicated to substantive #CJReform must remember these foundational truths: we must always START with the individual, NOT with the State. This means that the rights of the individual come first against that of the State, and those rights of the individual cannot be abrogated by the State without significant and substantial cause. Furthermore, those rights of the individual not only come first, but protecting the individual against the powers of the State is of first importance.
Imagine how differently many of these wrongful conviction cases would have played out in the original trials if this simple but profound principle of our justice system had been upheld, protected, and practiced!?
“Our starting point has always been the individual, not the State”
– William Douglas, (Former Supreme Court Justice, 1939 – 1975)
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